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BUFFY: What Happens Next!!

I am – Hercules!!

We’ve got our first, very confident look at the first eight UPN episodes of the best television show in production, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Here’s the big news:

* Buffy and Spike become more than friends before Thanksgiving.

* The increasingly powerful telekinetic redhead Willow is going to go from Marvel Girl to Dark Phoenix. Look for her to emerge as the season’s Big Bad.

* A midseason wedding is planned for Xander and Anya, but when an anxious Xander gets cold feet on wedding day, Anya turns back into a vengeance demon and seeks out the boy who stood her up. But even in demon-mode Anya realizes she can’t hurt her little butt-monkey -- and reverts back to human.

* There will be a recurring “little bad” this season as a trio of bored twentysomethings begin using dark magic to conjure demons. Nerdy Jonathan, last seen in “Superstar,” will be one of the more harmless members of the troika.

Here’s a rough breakdown of the episodes through November sweeps:

Buffy 6.1/6.2 (Oct. 9)

Buffy is dead and buried. Giles, with no slayer to watch, heads back to England. Anya has taken over the Magic Box. Willow and Tara are acting as Dawn’s guardians. And Willow has reprogrammed the Buffybot: it not only slays Sunnydale’s demons, it goes to college and attends PTA meetings so Dawn’s dad remains unaware of Buffy’s death.

Willow uses her growing powers to revive Buffy, but the spell is slow-acting and the gang misses the slayer’s emergence from the grave. When Buffy does get back above ground, she is not herself and wanders back to the scene of her own death.

A demon motorcycle gang rides into Sunnydale to challenge the Buffybot. The demons damage the Buffybot badly but it stays “alive” long enough to tell Dawn of Buffy’s return. Dawn finds Buffy at the tower, where Buffy defeats the demon gang and, at episode’s end, reunites with the Scoobies.

Buffy 6.3 (Oct. 16)

As the Scoobs contend with a demon ghost, Buffy realizes she was happier with the peace of the afterlife. She finds a sympathetic ear in someone else who knows something about an afterlife: Spike.

Buffy 6.4 (Oct. 23)

With Joyce gone, Buffy finds herself trying to contend with burst pipes and home-improvement loans.

She seeks out the advice of a just-returned Giles and indulges an off-camera meeting with Angel (which makes Spike very jealous).

Buffy’s ongoing frustration is bad news for the demon dispatched – by a trio of bored, twentysomething would-be sorcerers – to the slayer’s home. Buffy begs the demon not to break anything, and winds up drowning him in a pool of water formed by her plumbing leak.

Buffy 6.5 (Oct. 30)

When Dawn lies to Buffy and spends Halloween night joyriding and partying with boys, Buffy finds herself having to assume the role of parent/disciplinarian.

Meanwhile, after Willow and Tara have a fight about Willow’s abuse of magic, Willow casts a spell on Tara to make her forget the fight.

Buffy 6.6 (Nov. 6)

Panicky about his impending marriage to Anya, Xander accidentally concocts a “truth spell” that causes everyone in Sunnydale to reveal all of their innermost thoughts and feelings in song.

When Buffy and Spike learn of their true feelings for each other, they share their first real kiss.

Willow reveals in song that she cast a spell to make Tara forget their fight, and Tara decides to break up with Willow as a result.

Finally, Giles decides to return to England for good.

The episode’s original score and lyrics were written by “Buffy” creator Joss Whedon.

Buffy 6.7 (Nov. 13)

Giles says his good-byes as he finalizes preparations for his return to the U.K.

Buffy 6.8 (Nov. 20)

When a demon invades Buffy, making it impossible for her to determine what is and isn’t real, she winds up in a mental hospital.

I warn you not to defy me!

I am – Hercules!!

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